Hotels.com left me in Paris sans hotel

Iohan/Shutterstock
Iohan/Shutterstock
When Judi McManigal arrives at her hotel in Paris, she discovers she doesn’t have a reservation. Her online travel agency won’t help her. Is she stuck with the bill?

Question: We made a reservation recently on Hotels.com for a hotel in Paris. When we arrived, the hotel informed us that they had canceled the reservation due to an issue with the credit card transaction. Apparently, not all U.S. credit cards are accepted in Europe, which we also learned when we tried to buy train tickets from a machine with the same credit card.

Our hotel told us that they had notified Hotels.com of the credit card issue and cancellation before our arrival. They even showed me a printout of the email. However, Hotels.com never notified us of the credit card problem, nor the cancellation. The hotel had only one night available, so we had to find another hotel at the last minute for the three remaining nights.

We called the Hotels.com number in France, and the agent stated that they had the cancellation in their system. But after speaking with several representatives, Hotels.com refused to put us in another hotel at the same rate.
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Why won’t Starwood let me change my reservation ?

Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com
Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com
Carol Pratt is stuck with three pre-paid nights at a Starwood Hotel. Even though she wants to move the reservation by a few days, the hotel won’t let her without losing all of her money. What’s going on?

Question: I made a pre-paid reservation at the W New York – Downtown. The rate description said it was non-refundable and a penalty would apply for changes. When I tried to change it to a few days later, I was told that the reservation was actually non-changeable, and that should I cancel it, I would lose the money and need to book three new nights.

I contacted the W hotel’s central line and pointed out that the rate description for non-refundable rates stated they were non-refundable and non-changeable. That’s not the same thing as “a penalty for changes,” which is the language in the terms for the rate I had booked.
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What to do if your hotel doesn’t exist

Darren Bradley/Shutterstock
Darren Bradley/Shutterstock
For just $89 a night, the all-suite hotel in Killeen, Tex., promised Steven Hoybook and his family “European-style luxury” – an offer that seemed too good to pass up.

But Hoybook wishes that he had. When he and his family arrived, they found the hotel’s windows and doors shuttered. “They were out of business,” says Hoybook, who lives in Minneapolis. He couldn’t reach Orbitz, the site through which he’d booked the room, so the family found accommodations at a nearby Marriott, paying $111 a night for a smaller room.

When Hoybook finally reached the online travel agency by phone the next day, a representative “seemed sympathetic, leading us to believe that they would reverse the charge for the closed hotel,” he recalls. But after months of back-and-forth, during which the Hoybooks formally disputed the credit card charge for their first hotel, Orbitz referred their bill to a collection agency.
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Missed my hotel reservation by a month – do I still have to pay?

Brian Jackson/Shutterstock
Brian Jackson/Shutterstock
Elise Chon’s reservation is off by a month – an error made by a travel agent. Does she still have to pay for the hotel stay she missed?

Question: I made a reservation for two rooms at Cedar Breaks Lodge in Brian Head, Utah, for our family vacation during Christmas break. I made the booking by phone through Hotels.com.

I received a confirmation email, but I didn’t check the dates. I failed to notice the reservation was for November, not December.
Today I received an email from Hotels.com asking about my “recent” stay at Cedar Breaks.

Suspecting an error has been made, I checked my emails and realized I did not catch the mistake. I called Hotels.com and requested the recording of our phone conversation, and they declined and did not help me.
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They didn’t have the accessible room I reserved — what am I owed?

Disara/Shutterstock
Disara/Shutterstock
Some hotel amenities aren’t that important. Some are.

Having an accessible room, which is required under some state and federal laws, is a biggie. So when John and Carolyn Falabella asked me to look into their hotel’s failure to offer them the room they reserved, I knew it could be serious.

But a closer look at their case one shows just how frustrating it can be to fix a major problem like this, particularly with a chain hotel. I’m not sure if I can make this right, but read on and let me know if you think I should get involved in mediating this dispute.

Falabella had reservations at a Comfort Inn in Arlington, Va. He says he’d made a booking for an accessible room through Comfort Inn’s 800-number, and that he received a confirmation.
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